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December 19, 2012
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Stories from the Street 
  • Retailers attempt to create a low-key holiday atmosphere
    Some store owners are trying to tap into the holiday spirit without irritating their customers with over-the-top displays. "Christmastime is so saturated; if you're going to stake your claim, you have to do something different," said Billy Dertilis, co-owner of Red Rocket Coffee, which has three locations in Toronto. The Toronto Star (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Caring for Customers 
  • How to generate sales with social media
    Social media can be a key tool for salespeople as they attempt to learn about prospects and build relationships, writes John Jantsch. Companies can use tools such as Google Alerts and TweetDeck to monitor what their prospects are talking about, he notes. "Mining social networks is only part of the equation," he writes. "Social networks are all about connecting and, in many cases, discovering who is connected to whom." Duct Tape Marketing (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Keeping Shop 
  • How to avoid allegations of nepotism
    Hiring friends and family members isn't necessarily a bad idea, but you can end up in legal trouble if you give them preferential treatment based on your personal relationships with them, writes Deanne Katz. "To avoid these kinds of problems, keep office behavior businesslike and save your personal relationships for after work," Katz writes. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • 4 tips for productive networking
    You should focus on building relationships with people when you attend networking events rather than on selling your products or services, writes Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI. Networking "works best when you're striving to make connections that lead to professional contacts." Also, diversity is a key ingredient in forming a successful network, he writes. Fox Business Small Business Center (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • How to write a useful employee handbook
    You shouldn't bog down your employee handbook with jargon, Jan Fletcher writes. "The point is to communicate, not legislate," she writes. "Strive for succinctness and clarity." It's a good idea to use a casual tone and give examples to illustrate your company's policies on ethical behavior. Intuit Small Business Blog (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Managing the Money 
  • Business owners take a risky approach to retirement
    Many small-business owners are relying on their ability to sell their companies in order to get the money they need to retire, but this is a risky strategy. "There's a double-whammy if something happens to that company because you'll lose your income and your retirement assets," said Jules Lichtenstein, the author of a report on the issue for the Small Business Administration. Another recent study has also found business owners plan to retire at a later age than do employees. Bloomberg Businessweek (12/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Tips & Tools 
  • Google gives business owners guidelines on avoiding click fraud
    Companies can bring in some extra cash by displaying Google ads on their websites, but sometimes business owners discover their accounts have been banned for mysterious reasons. Google is working to reduce the confusion by supplying more information to publishers when improper activity is detected. Business owners can also turn to the AdSense Academy or a new series of videos to learn more. Small Business Trends (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • 11 ways small companies can skip big prices for business travel
    Travel early in the year, use alternate airports and shop prices on the Internet. Those are just three of nearly a dozen money-saving tips this feature rolls out for small businesses. "Business travel can be expensive, especially on a small-business budget, but I've got 11 tips to save you money," Rhonda Abrams writes. USA Today (12/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • 2013 trends for small business
    More people are striking out on their own to escape the difficult job market, which could be good news for business owners, Barry Moltz writes. "It's now less costly for small-business owners to find the exact resource they need when they need it," he writes. "There's no longer a requirement to hire employees with skills that are only utilized sparingly." In addition, reviews and referrals are becoming more important as paid advertising declines in influence. OPEN Forum blogs (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Featured Content 

Editor's Note 
  • Best of 2012: 18 SmartBrief interviews with industry thought leaders
    SmartBrief's SmartBlogs network interviewed 18 industry thought leaders this month. Find out what these leaders are projecting for their industries in 2013, and see what other free SmartBrief newsletters you may be missing out on. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story

If you are going to networking events hoping to sell something, you're dreaming."
--Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI, writing at Fox Business Small Business Center
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